For immediate release
April 19, 2016

Contact:
Sue Wilsey, Helen Plum Memorial Library, (630) 627-0316, SWilsey@helenplum.org
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library District, (847) 742-2411, draleigh@gailborden.info
Christine Niels Cigler, Fox River Valley Public Library District, 224-699-5884, ccigler@frvpld.info

Geralyn Magrady named 2016 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author

“So that pink manuscript binder you showed us years ago really turned into something!”
—former student of Geralyn Magrady

In an emotional and surprising celebration lifted from the pages of a best seller, long-time English teacher Geralyn Hesslau Magrady was named the 2016 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author for her novel Lines– at a ceremony on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at the Chicago Ridge Public Library.

A Chicago native now living in Berwyn, Geralyn Magrady holds a B.A. from Dominican University, a Master of Education from Northeastern Illinois University, and has taught English for eighteen years. She currently teaches at Fenwick High School in Oak Park. After the ceremony, Magrady spoke about how her teaching and writing careers have intertwined:

“It wasn’t until I became an English teacher that my personal love for reading and writing became something I needed to share with others—my students. I wanted my “kids” to witness these passions… I returned to teaching in 2008 (after an eight year break as a stay-at-home mom), and a new purpose for reading and writing evolved. I created a middle school Chicago history and literature curriculum, and I found that while teaching the subjects about which I was writing (for my novel), I learned about my characters and setting and conflict more than ever.”

Her novel, Lines- is set in Chicago in 1871, just as the tragedy of the great fire is about to unfold. The fire, the city’s re-birth and the struggles accompanying it are seen through the eyes of a young woman trying to find her own strength during the transition.

Magrady also commented her decision to enter the Soon to be Famous competition:

“I’ve been following the STBF project since its start, first hearing about the initiative through the Chicago Writers Association. I knew the January cut-off date was approaching, so in November 2015 I decided to attack the last revisions. I published in December, brought the story to Josephine Tucci from the Berwyn Public Library, and we made the deadline. Through this experience, I have had more exposure and recognition in the past three months than I thought possible in a lifetime. I’m both overwhelmed and overjoyed by the attention given to Lines— in such a short time span. I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my own writer’s story.”

Based on judges’ comments, all three finalists wrote exceptional books. Finalists James Hosek, author of Give a Dog a Bone, and Amanda Meredith, author of Irish Heart, shared their thoughts on writing, self-publishing and participation in the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project at the announcement event as well.

Last year’s winner, Michael Alan Peck, acted as Master of Ceremonies and read excerpts from each book to an appreciative audience. Bob Doyle, Executive Director of the Illinois Library Association passed out tissues – the tears (and the laughs) were really flowing!

About to begin its fourth year, the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project invites all Illinois authors of self-published adult fiction to submit their books through their local libraries to be evaluated by a panel of librarian judges. Developed by a group of library marketing professionals, the Project is an effort to demonstrate the power of libraries and librarians to seek out and promote high quality titles from the rapidly growing world of self-publishing. The new book How to Launch an Author Awards Program at Your Library: Curating Self-Published Books, Reaching out to the Community, written by the members of the STBF Committee is now available through Amazon and publisher ABC-CLIO.

Past winners include Joanne Zienty, author of The Things We Save, and Michael Alan Peck, author of The Commons Book I: The Journeyman. Both authors enjoyed wide exposure as a result of the Project including many library appearances, radio interviews, podcasts and print media coverage.

Submissions for next year’s contest will be accepted beginning this fall. Watch our website, soontobefamous.info, for updates and complete information.

For more information on Geralyn Magrady, visit http://www.ghesslaumagrady.com/.

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is being coordinated in collaboration with the Illinois Library Association (ILA) and Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and is supported by the American Library Association Digital Content Working Group, the Public Library Association (PLA), Illinois Heartland Library System.

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Photograph of book, title on cover reads How To Launch an Author Awards Program at Your Library

Soon to be Famous™ Illinois Author Project Book Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 15, 2016

Contact:
Lucy Tarabour, Clarendon Hills Public Library, 630.323.8188, publicity@clarendonhillslibrary.org
Christine Cigler, Fox River Valley Libraries, 224.699.5884, ccigler@frvpld.info
Mary Witt, RAILS 630.734.5124, mary.witt@railslibraries.info

The Soon to be Famous (STBF) Illinois Author project is proud to announce the publication of How to Launch an Author Awards Program at Your Library: Curating Self-Published Books, Reaching Out to the Community, written by members of the STBF committee and edited by committee members Julianne Stam and Elizabeth Clemmons.

Following the successful launch of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project in 2013, publisher ABC-CLIO approached members of the committee to document the history of the effort. Acquisitions Editor Barbara Ittner explains why the project caught her eye:

“The idea of libraries and librarians vetting self-published works is one of the most exciting trends in librarianship today. The Soon to be Famous group has made history with their Author Awards program, and their book lays the groundwork for others to follow. I look forward to seeing other libraries undertaking similar initiatives–truly, we live in exciting times.”

Each of the library marketing professions involved in the project contributed to the book that covers everything from its inspiration provided by New York University (NYU) Professor and branding expert David Vinjamuri, to the nuts and bolts of publicizing the contest, recruiting judges, establishing judging criteria, selecting the winner and promoting the winning entry.

The project is unique in many ways, notably for creating a comprehensive and specific process that connects self-published works directly with the very professionals best equipped to identify books that will appeal to readers everywhere—librarians!

The publication of How to Launch an Author Awards Program at Your Library means libraries everywhere can replicate the entire project, take bits and pieces of it, or tweak it to fit their particular needs without having to “re-invent the wheel.”

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is the brainchild of library marketing professionals who were inspired after listening to a presentation by David Vinjamuri, who spoke at the American Library Association’s 2013 annual conference about the importance of libraries in the era of e-books and self-publishing. He challenged libraries to wield their collective influence to lift a self-published author to success to create a measurable indicator of the power of libraries and librarians to affect books and reading. Currently, 32% of bestsellers on Amazon are self-published.

Past winners of the contest include Joanne Zienty, author of The Things We Save, and Michael Alan Peck, author of The Commons Book I: The Journeyman. Volunteer librarian judges are now hard at work evaluating entries for year three. A winner will be announced in mid-April. For more information, please visit soontobefamous.info.

How to Launch an Author Awards Program at Your Library: Curating Self-Published Books, Reaching Out to the Community is available at abc-clio.com/LibrariesUnlimited.

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is being coordinated in collaboration with the Illinois Library Association (ILA) and Reaching across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and is supported by the American Library Association Digital Content Working Group, the Public Library Association (PLA), and Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS).

RAILS provides delivery, shared online catalogs, e-book services, talking book services, continuing education programs, communication services, and other support to all types of libraries in northern and western Illinois. The system serves private, public, school, and university library members in a 27,000 square mile area. More information about RAILS is available at: www.railslibraries.info.

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Special National Library Week Announcement!

Winner announced in 2015 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2015

Contact:

Sue Wilsey, Helen Plum Memorial Library, 630-627-0316swilsey@helenplum.org

Christine Cigler, Fox River Valley Libraries, 224-699-5884,  ccigler@frvpld.info

Michael Alan Peck has written about subjects ranging from TV to restaurants to travel, but on Thursday, April 16, he was honored with the 2015 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project award for his urban fantasy novel The Commons Book 1: The Journeyman. A Chicago resident, Peck accepted the award in a ceremony held at the ILA (Illinois Library Association) headquarters in Chicago.

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Peck has also lived in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He’s made his living writing about TV, its celebrities, and its past. (He used to pen a column called “Ask the Televisionary” for TV Guide.com.) Writing restaurant reviews, travel pieces, and doing SEO and content strategy helped pay the bills, but storytelling is his true passion.

After the award ceremony, Michael commented, “Of any contest I’ve entered, the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project means the most to me. Libraries are where stories live, and librarians are the dedicated experts who guide us to our next magical read. This is the same feeling I have when absorbed in a great novel: I can’t wait to find out what happens next.”

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project, now in its second year, is the brainchild of library marketing professionals who were inspired after listening to a presentation by brand expert and NYU professor David Vinjamuri, who spoke at the American Library Association’s 2013 annual conference about the importance of libraries in the era of e-books and self-publishing. He challenged libraries to wield their collective influence to lift a self-published author to success to create a measurable indicator of the power of libraries and librarians to affect books and reading. Currently, 32% of bestsellers on Amazon are self-published.

Forty-three self-published adult fiction titles were nominated and eighteen librarians across the state served as judges. After a series of eliminations, the top 3 authors were selected and were all present at the ILA headquarters for the announcement. Vinjamuri flew in from New York to introduce the authors and present the award to the winner.

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is being coordinated in collaboration with the Illinois Library Association (ILA) and Reaching across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and is supported by the American Library Association Digital Content Working Group, the Public Library Association (PLA), and Illinois Heartland Library System.

 

 

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